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Judge orders trial for man accused of attempted murder

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Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 12:00 am

On Wednesday, a San Joaquin County Superior Court judge ruled there was enough cause for a 44-year-old man to stand trail on numerous charges, including attempted murder, after he was accused of assaulting his stepsister in Lodi earlier this year.

During a preliminary hearing, Judge Linda Lofthus heard testimony from victim Kathy Pollard, witnesses and a Lodi police officer, who said that James Short told officers that if he was released he’d kill the victim.

Short, who is being held in San Joaquin County Jail on charges of attempted murder, inflicting great bodily injury and assault by force that caused great bodily injury, will now wait for the court to set a trail date.

Short appeared in court on Monday dressed in an orange jumpsuit and listened to several people recall their account of the alleged attack, including Pollard.

Pollard said that on June 17, while she was driving her car along Church Street near Tamarack Drive, Short, who was a passenger, grew agitated. Pollard said Short was upset because she didn’t get him anything to drink.

“The next thing you know, he socked me in the face,” Pollard said. “It was hard. Then I saw the blood and realized I’d been hit.”

Pollard had suffered a cut on her right cheek, as a result of the blow. Short continued to hit Pollard, before she pulled over and fell out the car.

Pollard, who testified that a scar on her cheek was from the beating, said she didn’t remember much after that point.

Witnesses to the attack testified that Pollard laid on her side and tired to crawl away. But Short got out of the car, walked toward Pollard, and kicked her several times, according Nicki Sanchez, one of the witnesses.

“He walked around to her side and started kicking her in the face,” Sanchez said. “He wasn’t stopping. He just kept kicking her.”

Sanchez said she observed Short kick Pollard at least six or seven times.

Nearly 30 seconds had passed, but still, no onlookers had intervened. Sanchez, who said she feared that the 6-foot-3, 220-pound man might hurt her, said that she approached Short and yelled, “Stop.”

Short did.

But he then proceeded to walk in the direction of Sanchez and Gail Irons, a neighbor who called 911 and also testified on Wednesday.

Fearing for their safety, both woman started to retreat.

“I was afraid he was going to hurt me, too,” Sanchez said.

After a few steps, Short turned around and walked away from the scene. That’s when Sanchez checked on Pollard, who she said was badly beaten but still conscious.

“Blood was pouring all down her face,” Sanchez said. “It was horrible. It was everywhere.”

Pollard recalled getting back into her vehicle and driving to a nearby parking lot in order to escape from Short.

Lodi police officers said they found Short on the 1300 block of South Church Street, kneeling on the side of the road.

Officer Eric Shaw made contact with Short, who had a “fixed stare, like he was looking through something,” Shaw said.

At that moment, before Short had been arrested, he asked to be placed in the back of Shaw’s patrol vehicle, Shaw said. While in the car, Short made a “spontaneous statement,” Shaw said.

“He said, ‘I was going to kill her. If you let me go, I will go kill her,’” Shaw said.

Defense Attorney Rose Cardoso asked Shaw if he had considered transferring Short to a mental health facility, based on statements from Pollard, who told police that Short had recently been released from such a facility.

Shaw said that was never considered.

Pollard was initially taken to Lodi Memorial Hospital before she was transferred to UC Davis Medical Center, where she was treated for two fractures to her cheek, a laceration, a concussion and several bruises along her upper body.

Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at krisa@lodinews.com.

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